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Franchise Daily Digest: March 30

Franchise Daily Digest: March 30

Virtual home sessions for consumer-facing brands are proving popular.

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With the coronavirus crisis ongoing, many brands are enacting policies and changes to protect the wellbeing of staff and consumers. We’ve collated all of the biggest news and information below, for today’s franchise daily digest:

Hilton announces actions being taken in response to COVID-19

No industry is exempt from the impact of COVID-19, but the hospitality sector has taken a particular hit due to a global restriction on travel and encouragement to stay at home. In light of this, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., the owner and franchisor of more than 6,100 properties internationally, is taking steps to protect the core of its business and support affected team members.

At a corporate level, president and CEO Christopher Nassetta will forgo his entire salary for the remainder of 2020, and the executive committee will take a 50 per cent pay cut for the duration of the crisis. Corporate team members who are not furloughed (which the majority will be, or have their schedules reduced), will have their pay reduced by up to 20 per cent for the duration of the crisis.

In a bid to continue delivering hospitality even in a time of crisis, many Hilton hotels have been donating excess food to local pantries, and Hilton is assisting local and national governments to provide housing for first responders and care workers.

For guests who were planning on staying at a Hilton location, all trips scheduled on or before June 30, 2020 are now eligible for a full refund – even previously non-cancellable stays.

7-Eleven installs plexiglass sneeze guards at U.S. stores

7-Eleven has ordered and will soon begin installing plexiglass sneeze guards at the front sales counter of its 9,000-plus U.S. stores to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. These installations are planned to be complete at all stores within the next two weeks, with stores located in the worst-hit regions of the U.S. marked as a priority.

“We are doing everything we can to keep stores open and stocked with the products local communities need, while also keeping customers safe,” said Joe DePinto, president and CEO. “These new sneeze guards provide additional protection for customers, store associates and franchisees. We are monitoring the changing situation and CDC recommendations and will continue to prioritize the health of our customers, store associates and franchisees across America.”

Stagecoach Performing Arts launches new #stagecoachathome program

This period of staying at home has really highlighted the importance of the arts, with millions of people finding the time to binge their favorite TV shows, or listen to classic albums for hours on end.

Stagecoach Performing Arts, the international theatre education franchise, recognizes the importance of teaching children about the necessity of the arts world – even in a time of uncertainty and self-isolation. Because of this, the brand recently launched its #stagecoachathome program, which allows students to maintain their education via virtual teaching sessions.

Every Monday, the session will focus on singing, whilst on a Wednesday the videos will be on dance and activities suitable for Early Stages students. On a Friday, the spotlight will move to acting. These are to be hosted online and sent out via email to parents over the coming weeks, so students can follow the 10-minute videos at home whilst face-to-face activity is on hold.

“This is a very uncertain time for us all so our number one priority is to ensure our franchise network and the students who learn with us feel reassured and supported,” explained Andy Knights, COO at Stagecoach Performing Arts. “With all U.K. families now on lockdown, it’s imperative that they continue with as much structure as possible – including regular Stagecoach sessions! Franchisees can now share a series of short videos, hosted by our teachers, with their students. We feel as though this could be a real lifeline for parents now managing the unfamiliarity of the current situation.”

Anytime Fitness brings workouts to your living room

Many face-to-face business concepts are now opting for virtual sessions to engage clients, and Anytime Fitness is no different, as the international gym franchise launches its Coach.Care.Connect program to stream live, professional workouts through its Facebook and Instagram pages.

The sessions, hosted by Marvin Burton, experienced personal trainer and head of fitness for the brand, include daily workouts that can be accessed 24/7, as well as live broadcasts every weekday from 8:45am GMT. There will also be ‘ask the coach’ live chats available, as well as ongoing blogs that provide advice on managing diet, sleep, and general wellbeing.

Burton said: “At Anytime Fitness our ethos is to provide that supporting hand to anyone on their healthy journey, just because our gyms are closed this hasn’t changed and we are delighted to provide an easily accessible way to receive expert tuition and get the guidance you need to help you stay on top of your goals.”

Tropical Smoothie Cafe donating smoothies to nation’s heroes

With more than 830 locations dotted throughout the U.S., Tropical Smoothie Cafe is one of the country’s leading fast-casual smoothie franchises. In order to set the standard for how businesses can support those on the frontline, the smoothie franchise is planning to donate 100,000 smoothies to local healthcare workers and first responders dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

“In cafes across the country, the Tropical Smoothie Cafe family is working tirelessly to support our local communities, which are currently facing unprecedented hardship,” said Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC. “Our safety is dependent upon the selfless, hard work of our local healthcare workers and first responders and we want to help them in any way we can. The 100K smoothie giveaway is a simple, but impactful example of one way we can show our gratitude and bring a smile to their face – one sip at a time.”

To reach the goal of 100,000 smoothies, Watson added, each cafe has been challenged to donate at least 100 smoothies. In the first days of the campaign, several franchisees jumped on board to donate more than 600 smoothies each. As of March 27, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has delivered approximately 20,000 smoothies across over 20 states and over 30 markets. The brand’s focus has been on supporting all local communities, the same communities where its franchisee owners and the cafe employees live and work.

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